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Blog / Ecommerce platform guide / Unlocking Success: How to Drive Traffic to a Shopify Store

Ecommerce platform guide

Unlocking Success: How to Drive Traffic to a Shopify Store

Unlocking Success: How to Drive Traffic to a Shopify Store
Zoe Amora Iranzo-Lauriņa

By Zoe Amora Iranzo-Lauriņa

14 min read

Are you struggling to attract visitors to your website? Maybe you’ve just launched your Shopify store and aren’t seeing any traffic. Or perhaps you kicked off well but then hit a plateau, and now you’re wondering how to overcome it.

Whether your shop is fresh out of the oven or you’re looking to boost existing traffic, mastering the art of attracting visitors is vital to your success. The more traffic your online store gets, the higher your chances of making sales. That is, if your product is worthy of your audience’s attention (make sure you’re offering trending products on your Shopify store).

In this article, we’ll answer your query: ‘‘how to drive traffic to Shopify store.” You’ll discover free ways to drive traffic, increase customer engagement, boost sales, and find out which paid tactics are worth investing in. But first, where does traffic to Shopify stores come from?

What are the main sources of traffic to Shopify stores?

Recent studies show that the primary traffic sources for websites are organic search, direct traffic, social clicks, email marketing, and referral traffic.

  • Search (organic and paid) traffic comes when people are looking for a product and turn to search engines like Google. There are two ways your items can appear in these searches—through paid ads or organically through the search engine’s algorithms.

  • Direct traffic means someone already knew your website’s URL and typed it into their browser. This typically happens when that person has visited your site before, and their browser’s search bar remembers the URL.

  • Referral traffic comes from clicks that lead to your website from other sites, not search engines. This usually happens when a third party links to your site directly.

  • Email traffic comes from your email marketing campaigns. It’s an excellent way to tell if your emails are effective because it means readers clicked on your link and left their inbox. Check these effective email marketing tips to boost your sales.

  • Social clicks come directly from any buzz about your brand on social media platforms.

According to Sixads, Shopify stores gain visitors mainly through organic traffic. That’s excellent news since this tactic is free—organic traffic is the number of website visitors that come from unpaid search results (as opposed to paid results). 

a graph of salesSource: Sixads

However, to gain organic traffic, you must invest in SEO (search engine optimization) tactics to increase your rankings on search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. We’ll discuss how you can do that in the next section!

In this list of best strategies, we’ll explore creative ways to generate quality traffic for every marketing budget.

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20+ ways to drive traffic to your Shopify store

Now that we’ve identified relevant traffic sources, it’s time to consider which tactic for increasing traffic would work best for you.

There are two types of traffic-increasing tactics—short-term and long-term. Short-term tactics yield quicker results but require more maintenance or reinvestment. Long-term tactics require minimal maintenance but take longer to produce results.

Before implementing any tactic, do a cost-benefit analysis to measure the benefits and costs of taking that action.

You also want to consider factors like the effort, ROI (return on investment), cost, and traffic potential of each tactic. We’ve categorized each tactic to make it easier. Let’s dive in!

Engage on social media

This free long-term tactic for driving traffic can be highly effective in the long run. Social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest allow you to engage with your target audience and create meaningful connections.

There are several ways to drive traffic through your social media accounts:

Create compelling content

Avoid posting randomly—create a content marketing strategy and plan. Start by researching your target audience and what type of content they’d be interested in. Share your unique brand story and show your audience how your product can improve their lives.

Compelling content should offer valuable information, entertainment, or shareable inspiration. Check out our list of effective social media strategies to kick-start your success and leverage these content marketing tools to boost efficiency.

Engage with your followers

Stay active on social media to build community and trust. Respond to followers and engage with their posts. Mention relevant people on X and add valuable insights.

Avoid sounding salesy. Instead, give genuine advice to help your potential customers solve any issues they face (hopefully, ones your product can fix). The more you engage with your followers, the more they’ll want to keep posting about your company. For example, the clothing brand Dumbclub gets a lot of tags on Instagram thanks to its consistent customer engagement.

a collage of images of people and a manSource: Instagram

Get friends and family to share

Don’t have any followers on social media yet? Ask your family and close friends to share your website on their feeds. These are people who love you and are likely willing to help out of the kindness of their hearts.

Avoid asking them to buy your products—sharing with their friend circle is already a big favor. In fact, 92% of consumers trust recommendations from friends and family over advertisements.

Tip: Write a tailored message to each person when you ask them for help (or you risk sounding like a spam account). Don’t forget to thank them for sharing your online business!

Run contests and giveaways

An effective way to drive excitement to your online store and generate traffic is by running contests and giveaways. According to a recent study, 54.4% of people share a promotion on at least one of the proposed social networks. You can also create a customer loyalty or referral program to increase repeated purchases and attract new leads.

Wondering which platform deserves the most attention? Nearly two-thirds of social media visits to Shopify stores come from Facebook. In fact, a staggering 85% of sales from social media platforms happen through Facebook.

Increase discoverability with SEO

The next long-term tactic that’s also free to launch is search engine optimization (SEO). It takes time but has high traffic potential.

What does SEO entail? Let’s clarify.

SEO refers to the process of enhancing your website’s visibility on search engines like Google, Bing, and others. The goal is to make it easier for people searching for products you sell to find your website. With 49% of online shoppers worldwide using Google to find products, SEO is more important than ever.

The higher your pages rank in search results, the more likely people are to click on them (27.6% of users click on the 1# search result). Just think of how far you usually scroll down the search engine results feed.

So, how can you ensure your online store shows up in the top results?

Conduct keyword research

Research relevant keywords for your website copy, product descriptions, and meta titles. Use long-tail keywords (generally 3–5 words long) to target niche demographics. You can gain insights into what people are searching for with a free keyword research tool like Answer The Public or Google Analytics.

Google Analytics Academy even offers a free Google Analytics course for beginners.

a screenshot of a computerSource: Analytics Academy

Create quality content

Offering high-quality content can help drive more traffic to your Shopify store. Plus, content marketing plays a crucial role in strengthening relationships with customers.

To maximize content effectiveness, offer a variety of formats like blog posts, videos, podcasts, social media posts, and ebooks. Create content for every stage of the buyer’s journey to attract and guide potential and existing customers toward purchasing. Need some inspiration? Discover 8 foolproof ways to find new content ideas.

Content marketing also allows you to increase your site’s visibility. Use free keyword research tools like Google Trends or Ahrefs Keyword Generator to see what questions people are asking and be the first to write a blog post answering your audience’s query.

Harness the power of backlinking and internal linking

Backlinking to authoritative websites is an effective SEO strategy. When Google sees that you’re referencing other valuable pages, your website gains credibility. But don’t stop at backlinking!

Internal linking can also boost your Shopify store’s visibility in search results. For example, mapping out your site’s internal navigation helps Google crawl (analyze) it more easily.

Bonus tip: Carefully link your collections and product descriptions, and use anchor text to provide relevant contextual information about the content of the link’s destination.

Consider search intent

Google’s number one goal is satisfying users’ search intent. What does that mean? Search intent is the user’s main goal when typing a query into the search bar. For example, if someone is interested in starting a streetwear brand, they may favor an article that tells them how many steps it includes over one that doesn’t.

a screenshot of a computerSource: Google

While other Google ranking factors like content quality, keyword optimization, and backlinks are important, they are pointless unless your website meets users’ search intent.

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Run ad campaigns

Running social media ads is a paid short-term tactic that can bring an incredible ROI. Plus, it yields quick results. The cost and effort depend on the ads you use to reach your potential customers.

Google ads

Google ads allow you to advertise your products and services directly to people who are actively searching for them using the world’s two largest search engines: Google and YouTube. This paid ads method requires more time and effort to master, but the potential ROI is worth it (we’re talking about a staggering 800% ROI).

There are many types of Google ads, including display and search ads—the former pop up in front of the user, while the latter appear when searching for a related keyword. When choosing a Google ad strategy, consider the cost per click (CPC), conversion rate (CVR), and your business needs. Learn more about Google ads.

Facebook ads

Facebook is the largest social media platform, with 3.065B monthly active users. You can use Facebook ads to target specific groups of people and get your message in front of those who are most likely to convert. Facebook Dynamic Ads can help bring users back to your website. Learn more in this Facebook Ads Guide.

Instagram ads

Instagram has 2B active users worldwide. Creating Instagram ads is an excellent way to boost website traffic and sales. Plus, it’s the easiest option on this list. Make sure you have an Instagram Business account (you can switch to one easily) to get more ways to connect with your audience through Instagram ads. Find out more about Instagram Ads.

TikTok ads

Despite its reputation for silly dance videos, TikTok is a powerful platform for advertisers, with 1B active monthly users. In fact, TikTok ads drive higher user engagement, stronger brand recall, and more positive brand sentiment than other platforms tested. It’s no wonder Shopify has launched a TikTok Shop integration, which helps creators and merchants deepen their relationships with consumers.

Pinterest ads

Pinterest is another great platform to reach potential customers. Use Promoted Pins to help you create ads that stand out and capture your customers’ attention (your Pin will be seamlessly integrated into the Pinterest feed, meaning customers won’t even know it’s an ad). Learn how to set up Pinterest ads.

a collage of different objectsSource: Pinterest

Bonus tip: Maximize your ROI and attract qualified leads by experimenting with different ad formats, targeting options, and creatives.

Collaborate with influencers

Collaborating with influencers is an excellent short-term free tactic that greatly increases traffic to your Shopify website. Social media influencers are people who have the ability to affect others’ purchasing decisions by promoting or recommending products.

What about the cost? Influencer marketing costs depend on the influencer’s audience size and engagement rates. There are influencers for every budget—each with their own strengths that pair well with different campaigns and goals. Find out how to run the perfect microinfluencer campaign.

How can you get influencers to partner with you?

  • Offer free samples. Most small influencers are open to receiving free product samples in exchange for a feature post or reel. They’ll be happy to share a positive review, especially if they fall in love with the product!

  • Sponsored posts. This is one of the most popular influencer marketing tactics—there are currently 3.8M posts tagged with #ad on Instagram. Sponsored social posts are where a brand pays an influencer to feature its product in a post, story, or reel and show their audience how they use it.

  • Write a blog post featuring an influencer’s advice. Recent data shows that 77% of internet users regularly read blog articles. If you mention a popular influencer’s advice in your article, they’ll most likely link to it on their page—meaning more traffic to your Shopify store.

  • Social media takeovers. Gain access to an already established audience by allowing an influencer to access your Instagram and Facebook Stories. Let them post throughout the day and attract their followers to your page.

You can contact influencers directly on their social media pages or use a platform like the Influencer Marketing Hub. Just make sure you partner with influencers whose audience aligns with your target market.

Let’s say you sell custom-made t-shirts with the print-on-demand business model. When choosing an influencer to partner with, consider how relevant that person is rather than how many followers they have. Potential customers are more likely to buy your products if the influencer’s values, style, and message align with your brand.

a man standing on a sidewalkSource: Instagram

For example, @iconspeak is a clothing brand that promotes traveling and adventure, and their brand ambassador @markintravel is a travel aficionado himself.

Use discount codes & offers

This short-term tactic can increase traffic to your Shopify store overnight. Offering time-sensitive discounts, promotional codes, and special offers entices visitors to purchase from your store. Just make sure you’re not giving away the farm.

Running limited-time offers creates a sense of urgency, which can increase sales by 332% (jaw = dropped). Also, 80% of consumers admit they’d try a new brand if it offered them a discount. What’s more, 66% of people say they’d make a purchase even if they didn’t intend to buy anything in the first place.

a black and white chart with yellow textSource: Namogoo

There are several tactics for discounts and special offers that’ll make them appealing to your customers.

  • BOGO. The ‘‘buy one, get one” model encourages shoppers to buy more items by offering one for free or the second at a 50% discount.

  • $ or % off. This is the standard discount tactic, simply offering either a percentage or a set sum off the original price.

  • Free shipping. Don’t underestimate the power of offering something for free. In fact, 62% of customers are more likely to shop from retailers who offer free shipping (even if their prices are higher).

Discover more promotional tactics and learn how to leverage the psychology of discounts.

Cash in on Google’s free listings

This free long-term tactic lets you list products directly on Google’s search page. It’s also relatively easy to set up.

a screenshot of a web pageSource: Google

Google’s Shopping ads, launched in 2020, allow retailers to list their products for free across Google. All you need is a Google Merchant account and a high-quality listing, and you can feature your products on the Shopping tab.

However, since this feature is free, expect competition to be fierce. That’s why optimizing your product data is crucial for visibility. Speaking Google’s language can help your products stand out. Ensure you analyze your competition, optimize your product titles, use high-quality product pics, add ratings, and use negative keywords.

Learn more about Google shopping listings and how to optimize your product descriptions.

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Develop pre-release product pages for big upcoming product launches

Creating pages before your competitors can boost your SEO scores as Google indexes and ranks them sooner, driving organic traffic.

Google indexes a web page when its crawler, known as ‘‘Googlebot,” visits it, analyzes its content and meaning, and stores it in the Google index. A page that follows the Google Search Essentials can appear in the search results.

Being among the first in the industry to have a page can also increase its authority, mainly if it earns links and shares before everyone else. Plus, offering products pre-release can help secure your profits and avoid inventory losses (since you’ll know exactly how many products to manufacture).

However, you don’t need to worry about inventory management or loss with the print-on-demand dropshipping or traditional dropshipping model.

Make sure your pre-launch landing page includes a clear value proposition, a bulleted list or a very concise sentence of the core benefits of your product, a single call-to-action (CTA), social proof, and a hero shot (or photos of the product in use).

a screenshot of a computerSource: Wishpond

Learn more: One of the key benefits of dropshipping is the low overhead costs and easy setup—you pay for a product only as orders come in. This means there’s no need to buy in bulk or manage inventory. Learn more about Shopify dropshipping.

Optimize your website speed on desktop and mobile

Finally, an essential factor for getting a high ranking on Google is website speed. Google wants users to have the best possible experience. If customers leave your Shopify store because it takes forever to load, your Google search rankings (and consequently, your Shopify store traffic) will suffer.

Luckily, Shopify offers plenty of app integrations for speed optimization. Ecommerce businesses benefit from customers staying on the site as long as possible because it increases their product spending. By improving your ecommerce website’s speed, you can boost your user experience, conversion rates, and rankings.

It’s time for your ecommerce business to take off

With all these traffic-driving tactics under your belt, it’s time to put your plan into action. Don’t make the mistake of spreading yourself too thin by trying too many strategies at once—pick one that fits your budget and give it some time. Once it takes off, come back here and choose another tactic to experiment with.

The more traffic your Shopify store gets, the more likely you are to convert shoppers into paying customers. Are you new to ecommerce and looking for inspo from other Shopify store owners? Check out our list of 15+ Inspiring Shopify Store Examples.

Do you have any questions about any of these traffic-generating tactics? Did we miss anything? Feel free to leave a comment below. Wishing you the best of luck in your ecommerce venture!



By Zoe Amora Iranzo-Lauriņa on Jun. 10, 2024

Zoe Amora Iranzo-Lauriņa

Guest author

Zoe is a creative writer, multilingual translator, and certified yoga instructor with a passion for learning, traveling, and global cuisine. When she's not typing away at her PC, you can find her teaching yoga in the park, reading on the couch with her cat, or plunging in the Mediterranean.

Zoe is a creative writer, multilingual translator, and certified yoga instructor with a passion for learning, traveling, and global cuisine. When she's not typing away at her PC, you can find her teaching yoga in the park, reading on the couch with her cat, or plunging in the Mediterranean.